Pulau Tioman - Island of Dreams

Tioman Travel Blog

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Someone asked me to tell about my experiences on Tioman Island, a small island near the south-east coast of Malaysia. He asked me why it was a must-see place and how to get there. So this is what I want to say to him:

After being in Malaysia for quite some time, me and friend Sjan wanted to get the real relaxing beach experience on a tropical island. All we did for the past weeks was travelling and seeing cultural things, zoo parks and museums. So when we took out our Lonely Planets we noticed a tiny island near the south-east coast of Malaysia called Tioman.

A few days before that we where on Borneo, and there we met some guys who were set on going to the Perhentian Islands. We doubted to go traveling with them for a while but eventually we sticked to our own plans and went to Tioman. It was the best choice we could have ever made :)

When we flew back from Borneo we arrived in Kuala Lumpur where we stayed for one night. The next day we wanted to go to Tioman straight away but it was harder than we thought. We then decided to take the train to Kluang and see from there. The traine experience was nice :) soemthing different for a change but a really nice way to travel. Good seats, movies on the way and enjoying the view while your at it! Kluang on the other hand was more of a hamlet than anything else. We got there in the evening so it made sense to stay the night. Kluang did not have many hostels/hotels/motels to stay in, and later on we found out why :P everywhere you look there are cockroaches creeping and crawling. hotels can't ban them so every room comes with a spray against these bugs...Let me just say it was quite an interesting night that night...we did not know how fast we had to get out the next morning!

From Kluang we took the bus to Mersing, the only place on the malaysian coast where the ferry leaves for Tioman. The only other way is the plane, but I'll tell you later why we did not take that. We booked the ferry for that same afternoon and on the ferry we met Lucy, a girl from England looking for some relaxing spirit as well as us :) The malaysian people love to take things slow which was a downside for the ferry. we found out we booked the last ferry heading out that day, which meant it waited until it was full instead of keeping track of time to get to Tioman. We where about 2 hours later than expected on the island.

The ferry hops on land at every resort there is on Tioman, it starts at the bottom of the island and than heads up north. We where about halfway, we got out at Kampung Air Batang (ABC) with a slight weird feeling in the stomach. The ferry was quite a ride to Tioman. We started out on deck in the fresh air, which was good :) if you don't mind the smells of the fish that is headed for the restaurant holders on the island. But it started to rain a bit on the way so we had to get inside and than with a bit of rough weather and the ferry going up and down the entire way, a stomach ache starts to make quite some sense :) Well we got there in one piece and as soon as we set our tired feet on this beautiful island, we forgot all about our pains and felt right at home.

The three of us had reservations at this resort called South Pacific, but due to some lobbying for political reasons Lucy was out of a cottage and had to find a new place to stay. We offered her a place in our cottage but the owner of the resort said that wasn't possible. Mad (and wise enough) as we already where, we decided not to argue and let him have it his way, we would find something else :) And we did! We arrived at Johan's Resort after that and the owner felt so sorry for us he offered us the spare cottage of the resort and his very own second mattress for Lucy to sleep on, so we could stay in one cottage with the three of us together. We loved him immediately :)

Even though the island is quite the relaxing point of Malaysia, there's quite a bit to do around the island as well. The three of us went diving (with B&J) the first day (actually Sjan and Lucy did, I was too scared...) and snorkeling in the afternoon. The water is really clear and you can see the fishes and the pebbles on the bottom of the sea, glinstering in the sun that peeks through the water. It was beautiful! The second day we just lay on the beach in the sun getting a tan. Quite nice if the beach is like ten steps from the cottage :P The next morning Lucy had to leave because she was supposed to meet up with friends in Singapore and me and Sjan decided to stay one more day before we headed in the same direction. We rented two bikes that day and rode all around the island. Which is actually not quite that hard because the island has only one main road and it goes all around :) We rode south to the Berjaya Tioman Beach, Golf & Spa Resort. The resort for the rich people under us. The plane ride to Tioman lands near this resort, it's not cheap because it's a particularly small plane, more of a private plane thing and the plane leaves - of I'm not mistaken - only from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

We entered the resort without questions and spent the entire afternoon in the luxury and riches the resort had to offer :) we had lunch 'on the house' and even got some free towels for the entire afternoon. Later on we headed back and ate as usual at our own resort at Johan's before we went to sleep.

The next morning we said goodbye to the owner of Johan's Resort, Desmond, and started our trip back to Singapore. We decided, due to our experience on the ferry, to book the speedboat back to Mersing. Takes only 90 minutes the sign said instead of the two to three hours the ferry takes. The speedboat is small and hardly ever picks up people from every place on the island, because it's full in no time. We were lucky we were the last resort he picked up people from, because the speedboat headed straight for Mersing after that. Being the last on board had definitely its advantages :) the bags had to be put in a small cabin in the front of the boat. Not entirely waterproof, we found out later. But the bags last in where the most dry plus we could leave the boat as the first people! The ride was questionable. The boat was só fast it sometimes flew for a bit when it hit a wave and than landed back on the water so hard we all thought that it would explode someday! The stomach aches from the trip to Tioman on the ferry weren't present on the speadboat, but an ache in my behind definitely was :P We where surprised we made it in one piece back with the entire boat, luggage and people :)

Back on land in Mersing we turned around where the jetty was about to leave for Tioman with new people on board and we smiled. On the ride to Tioman you have no idea what you have gotten yourself into, but just being on the island makes up for that. See for yourself in the pictures included with this blog, and I'm sure you'll agree :)

ko2678 says:
Hi RenieMaria,
That island sounds like a great find.Great story,and photos!!
Posted on: Sep 13, 2009
sorena4csb says:
Really nice photos and thnxx for sharing! :)
Posted on: Sep 13, 2009
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180 km (112 miles) traveled
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photo by: RenieMaria